I’m a User Experience Consultant and Interface Architect working in the San Francisco Bay Area. I hold a master’s degree from Cal Berkeley’s School of Information (and before you ask, my degree unfortunately is not “Master of Information”, cool as that would be). My primary area of interest is human-computer interaction; to me, that’s where the rubber really meets the road. I also like to play around with programming for the web and mobile applications, but honestly, if you need my help with coding, we’re both in trouble.

I joined the iSchool from the US Navy, where I worked as an intelligence analyst and Russian translator at the National Security Agency for 4 years. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time interacting with government information systems, you can probably understand how I came to be so passionate about good, usable design. By far, the best part of that whole period was getting to attend DLI, a language school in Monterey.

My other great passion is sailing, and I am already planning for the day when I will circumnavigate the world in my own little boat (a Chris White Atlantic 42, in case you were wondering; it’s an amazing design, a truly ocean-worthy catamaran).

Please feel free to poke around the site, and hit me up at the contact link if you have an interesting project that needs some UX love. Or if you’d like to go sailing sometime. :)

I offer a variety of services as a freelance consultant. If you’ve got an extra-hairy project that requires more eyes than mine, drop me a line. I’m fortunate enough to know some very talented folks in the industry, and we just love to collaborate.

User Experience Research
Quantitative or qualitative, in-person or remote, I have thousands of hours of experience designing and carrying out testing on everything from napkin sketches to full software implementations. Put your product in front of some actual users, and you might be surprised how easy it can be to score some big usability wins.

Interface Architecture
Not sure what the hierarchy should look like? Haven’t been reading every article on interface design best practices? Ontology out of control? Never fear, the Maven is here! Whether you’re staring at a blank canvas, or need to improve a legacy interface, I can help you reach the solution that will put users where they need to be, fast.

Design Review
Engineer Andy: How come we get so many tickets for the WibblyWidget? Seems like people can never figure out how to add contacts.
Project Manager Pam: I dunno, it’s pretty straightforward. All you have to do is right-click on the smiley face in the bottom right corner while doing a one-arm handstand. Makes sense to me.
Engineer Andy: Hmm, maybe if we move it to the other side of the page… Too bad we don’t have time to do user testing before the next code push.
Project Manager Pam: Man, if only we could find an objective third-party usability expert with real-world experience, top-notch training, and knowledge of the latest best practices. They could review our site and tell us where the wrinkles are and how to get ’em out.
Engineer Andy: Yeah, then I could close all these tickets, get a raise, and buy more beer. Hooray, beer!*

      *Note: Any resemblance to actual beer-loving developers is purely coincidental.

Selected Professional Experience

• United States Navy, Linguist / Manager, 2006 – present
Currently manage a team of 14 linguists performing analysis of Top Secret classified intelligence materials. Plan and coordinate allocation of resources to meet mission objectives, ensuring high-quality reporting to top-level executives at various national security agencies. Active TS/SCI clearance.

• Bolt | Peters, User Experience Researcher, 2007 – 2009
Consulted on web and software technologies, serving as principal liaison and lead researcher for clients from a diverse variety of industries. Designed qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to analyze user needs and pinpoint problem areas for improved functionality. Developed and presented actionable recommendations for solutions and enhancements. Cultivated long-term relationships with customers including HP, Wikipedia, Metaweb, Autodesk, Sony, UCSF Medical Center, Mint.com, Ask, and EA Games.

•  UC Berkeley Information Services & Technology , Ethnographer, 2008
Collaborated on design of research protocol to identify the needs of various campus roles in relation to communication and information sharing technologies. Carried out field interviews of students, teachers and administrators. Produced documentation and analysis of current technology usage in preparation for system-wide overhaul.

• United States Navy, Intelligence Analyst, 2002 – 2006
Performed intelligence analysis on assignment to the National Security Agency. Collaborated over a period of years with a cross-agency team of multi-national intelligence experts, representing a unique array of skill sets and responsibilities. Upon joining the team, independently identified material weaknesses within departmental processes; responded by researching new technology tools, and adapting them to supplement existing methods, providing efficient and complete coverage of mission requirements. Conducted training of staff and new hires. Designed and maintained the front-end of multiple internal knowledge bases.

• University of California, Berkeley, Masters of Information Management & Systems, Focus on HCI, 2008
• Excelsior College, Albany, NY, Bachelor of Science, Liberal Studies, 2005
• Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA, Associate of Arts, Russian, 2004

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